The “wonderment” of a second act in life’s play.
For Marilyn Swanson, Maravilla Resort Condominiums were the gateway to the second act in her life. She never saw herself as a “landlord,” but rather as a “free spirit.” Yet, life had a way of combining both while at the same time presenting her with an opportunity to share with others the “wonderment” she found in Galveston.
Marilyn always has enjoyed being around water; it was part of her growing up years.
“I’m an upbeat positive professional woman who enjoys life and meeting new people. I grew up in New Jersey and summer vacations were spent at the Jersey shore,” said Marilyn. “That’s where I started my love affair with the ocean.”
While working and living in the Houston area, she needed a way to unwind. Her busy life was very demanding with many twists and turns along the way. She started to look towards Galveston and fell in love with the warm and inviting waters of the Gulf and the vibrant Galveston community. She looked for a place to stay in Galveston, and found it in Maravilla Condos; where she bought a town house unit with a great view. Her weekends were great, but she felt she could do more. “I wanted to be involved, not just be a weekend visitor,” said Marilyn. This came naturally to her since as a registered dietitian, former college professor and USDA National Program Leader, Marilyn had a passion to be committed and reach out to others. With her optimistic lookout in life, she ran and was elected to serve on the Maravilla Home Owners Association Board of Directors.
The day of the election happened to be Mardi Gras weekend (2006) in Galveston. After the meeting, Marilyn accepted the invitation from fellow condo-owners to join them in the festivities. It was there and then that Marilyn met her future husband Larry.
Marilyn is the first to admit that she was enjoying her single life “immensely;” and she didn’t see a serious relationship in her future. However, Larry was a great fit in her life. He loved fishing, the outdoors, the ocean and liked to dance and cook. He also helped her with whatever repairs or upkeep the weekend condo required. A relationship bloomed and eventually culminated in their marriage that took place, of course, at Maravilla.
Time, patience and a good business sense, guided the couple to buy other condos. They were having such a great time in Galveston along with their first condo, why not duplicate it?
Larry remarked, “Managing the condos was and is a team effort. Even though we are still in the workforce, our dreams are to eventually own a Galveston canal home and continue to enjoy our condos. I still work for Baker-Hughes and Marilyn has started on yet another career in insurance, helping people with Medicare and retirement solutions. However, we are very hands-on property managers because these condos have an intrinsic value and great meaning in our lives. Fortunately, our home in Pearland is 48 miles away and we can still have a quick weekend getaway or just go one afternoon for the pool at Maravilla.”
“Larry and I enjoy making memories in Maravilla and in Galveston; we didn’t want to keep it to ourselves. We bought additional condos, decorated and furbished them in an inviting manner so we could rent them for families and couples.” The reception has been incredible,” said Marilyn. In addition, they are members of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce as Galveston Tropical Condos.
Still, the story has its ups and downs. Larry and Marilyn had to weathered Hurricane Ike, suffering damage in some of their units. However, they never thought twice on what they needed to do next. After that, in 2009, there was the Maravilla fire which destroyed two of their units.
Once more, with time and patience, they worked through contractors, insurance and permits to bring beauty to all of their condos, adding a new opportunity to redecorate the units. New flooring, appliances, and repairs in general gave birth to what Marilyn calls the wonderful “mini worlds.”
At the same time Larry and Marilyn take the time to enjoy and experience all that Galveston offers from Mardi Gras to the Lone Star Rally, from fishing to dancing, from the Sandcastle Competition to dining out on the town. It is always special when we get to bring our 1973 Volkswagon Thing.
And even more special when we have a chance to share one of the condos with one or more of the five grand kids.
In late 2015, Larry and Marilyn decided to turn the day to day reservations and management to Turnkey Vacation Rentals so they would have more time to enjoy Galveston.
“Each of the condos has a very distinct story and feeling; and each is decorated to reflect their uniqueness,” said Marilyn.
Galveston Topical Pelican Watch (#347) is a townhouse style condo with two stories, totaling1,066 square feet. Both upstairs bedrooms have water views, with 2 full bathrooms upstairs and a convenient half bath on the first floor.
Galveston Topical Sunrise (#338) is what we call our Tequila Sunrise as it has a private top floor balcony facing east for incredible sunrise views of the Lagoon Lake and the Gulf.
Galveston Tropical Breeze (#353) showcases a great ocean view. It is one of our largest condos, with its two-story 1,066 sq. feet of room and 2 ½ bathrooms along with top of the line appliances. It is perfect, with its elegant décor, for parties and group gatherings.
Galveston Tropical Sundancer (# 202) could be considered the “queen” since it boasts an ocean-front view. Its nautical and beach décor impresses guests with a whimsical sentiment.
Galveston Tropical Palms (# 123) has a big balcony that allows for a special place to relax in Galveston. It’s decorated with antiques with an older home feeling, capturing what 1800’s Galvestonians must have seen and enjoyed in those days. (Managed by TurnKey)
Galveston Tropical Getaway No. 1 (# 135) is the romantic one. This one-bedroom condo has a memory-foam bed, surrounded by tranquil colors –the perfect reason for a couple to stay in Galveston. (Managed by Turnkey)
“We keep journals in each of the units and ask our guests to share and record their experiences. We are happy to report many positive comments. We have earned numerous 5-star ratings with our on-line reviews with Trip Advisors, VRBO and Vacation Home Rentals,” added a proud Marilyn. We also have a loose leaf notebook in each condo with brochures about many of Galveston’s attractions as well as menus from many of Galveston’s finest dining establishments.
Maravilla in the Spanish language means wonderment. The wonderment lies in the happiness that Marilyn and Larry found in 2006 and continues today through sharing their dream with others.